Coronavirus case numbers are shooting up across much of Canada, and a set of fresh restrictions are coming online to help control the spread of the virus. Sarah MacDonald reports
Coronavirus case numbers are shooting up across much of Canada, and a set of fresh restrictions are coming online to help control the spread of the virus. Sarah MacDonald reports
MILTON, Ga. — In a black face mask and cap, activist Garrett Bess walked up driveway after driveway of million-dollar homes in suburban Atlanta on a recent afternoon, placing a flyer in each door, ringing the bell and stepping away to make a socially distanced pitch to vote for the conservative candidates in Georgia's pivotal U.S. Senate runoff elections.Bess' group, Heritage Action for America, plans to knock on half a million doors before the state's two Jan. 5 contests that will determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the Senate.“Everyone in Georgia knows the candidates,” said Janae Stracke, a colleague of Bess’ who also canvassed the subdivision. "There’s not a lot of convincing to do. They’ve made up their mind. It’s mostly knowing when to vote, how to vote, encouraging them to vote.”This election season, the coronavirus pandemic has upended traditional get-out-the-vote efforts where campaign workers go door to door to encourage people to cast ballots. With people staying at home and limiting contact with outsiders, an extended conversation with a campaign worker who shows up uninvited may actually encourage people to vote for someone else.But it's a sign of how important the two Senate elections are that both parties and independent advocacy groups are going all in on their in-person get-out-the-vote efforts.After the GOP lost the presidential election in Georgia for the first time in 28 years, conservatives are urging Republicans to get more aggressive with their turnout efforts in the state to match the outreach of former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams.After Abrams lost the 2018 governor's race, she devoted herself to voter outreach, convinced that the state was a genuine battleground if Democrats galvanized young voters, minorities and people moving in from other states. She raised millions of dollars to organize and register hundreds of thousands of voters in the state — efforts credited with helping Democrat Joe Biden win Georgia.Republicans have to catch up, Republican operative Karl Rove told Fox News.“Let’s not kid ourselves: This is a real race,” said Rove, who is leading fundraising efforts for the runoffs.The National Republican Senatorial Committee expects to have 1,000 staffers on the ground in Georgia. For comparison, the Republican National Committee had a total of 3,000 paid field staff across the whole country during the presidential race.Democrats carry their own baggage into the runoff. In many parts of the country, they limited face-to-face campaigning ahead of the Nov. 3 election because of the pandemic, arguing that was the responsible thing to do. But that decision was second-guessed in places such as Florida.The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee plans to spend millions on voter registration and turnout efforts.Outside groups are also hitting the ground, and the in-person appeals will be supplemented with a fusillade of phone calls, text messages, mailers and ads aimed at boosting turnout for the races pitting Republican Sen. David Perdue against Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler against Democrat Raphael Warnock.Turnout tends to drop precipitously in runoff contests in Georgia. And activists fear there might be even more of a falloff this time, when the excitement of the Trump-Biden race is over. So getting voters to come back to the polls becomes more of a focus than “trying to find new voters or win over voters who voted for your opponent,” said Charles Bullock, an expert on Southern politics at the University of Georgia.Historically, that drop-off has disproportionately affected Democrats, so the party faces strong headwinds heading into January. The Republican candidate has beaten the Democrat in seven out of eight runoff elections since 1992, including two U.S. Senate races.Democrats have reason for optimism after Biden's win, but his margin of victory was tiny — less than 13,000 votes of nearly 5 million cast — and it’s been 20 years since the state elected a Democrat to the U.S. Senate.But groups whose efforts tend to favour Democrats are charged. On Friday, representatives of the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America went door to door in a neighbourhood just outside Atlanta encouraging people to vote for Ossoff and Warnock.“If we don't get those two seats in Congress, everything we did to flip Georgia blue is not going to help us,” Phyllis Morrow told a couple that pulled over in their car.The African Methodist Episcopal Church in Georgia, which has more than 150,000 parishioners in the state, is asking members to call eligible voters in their congregations, encourage them to vote early and assist with rides if they need help getting to the polls on Jan. 5.Bishop Reginald T. Jackson said Black voters are excited and “realize the eyes of the nation are on Georgia.”"They know people are going to be looking to see whether or not Blacks turn out,” he said.The New Georgia Project, a group founded by Abrams, will try to register some of the estimated 35,000 people who have finished their felony sentences and can requalify to vote as well as some of the estimated 23,000 people who are turning 18 before the runoff, Executive Director Nse Ufot said.Ufot said the group also aims to knock on 1 million doors before the runoff, up from 500,000 before the general election, and is training volunteers to take coronavirus precautions.In Milton, Bess and Stracke were in friendly territory. The affluent, mostly white city about 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of Atlanta showed strong support for President Donald Trump in the November election. The neighbourhood they canvassed last week featured manicured lawns and spacious homes set back from the street.“Oh, you have no problem here,” Holly McCormick, 73, told Bess after he rang her doorbell. The flyers he carried warned that Georgia was the country’s “last line of defence from a socialist takeover.”McCormick called the outcome of the presidential race “rigged” though there is no evidence of widespread fraud in the 2020 election, and she said Trump’s claims of illegal votes made her more energized to vote for Perdue and Loeffler in January.“We have to hold the Senate,” she said.___Associated Press writer Jeff Amy in Atlanta contributed to this report.Sudhin Thanawala, The Associated Press
More than once during the weeks leading up to the provincial election Premier Moe referred to the province as being a supplier of raw materials to the world, but is this where the province should remain? Over 70% of Canada’s farmland is located in the prairies and historically, Saskatchewan was referred to as the “bread-basket of the world”, but with the shift away from primarily wheat production and the growth of the oil and gas sectors, that title has fallen into disuse. Yet, Saskatchewan remains in the realm of a primary producer. The problem with that status became evident earlier this year when COVID-19 arrived on our doorstep. As a province we are heavily reliant on other districts to supply our finished products and when they run into problems, such as the outbreaks of the coronavirus among their employees, the ripples are felt all along the food chain. But the authors of a new report just released by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives highlights another factor that while many across the prairies realize its happening, may not realize the full extent nor the implications of the trend. For years ‘bigger is better’ has been mantra of our culture, bigger homes, bigger trucks, bigger toys, and this is true of farming as well. Since the 1980’s farmers in Saskatchewan have been encouraged become bigger. Marginal farmland was pulled into production to make for bigger crops. Bigger equipment could complete the farmers work in less time and well, bigger equipment meant that it was possible to work more land, and the cycle continued. The era of broadly distributed land ownership, of food production by small and medium-sized family farms, is fading and the small farm is all but extinct. The number of young farmers in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba has, according to the report Concentration Matters: Farmland Inequality on the Prairies, declined by more than 70 percent, in just one generation—since 1991 (Statistics Canada Table 32-10-0169-01). The report authored by Darrin Qualman, Annette Aurélie Desmarais, André Magnan, Mengistu Wendimu for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) states that while it remains the case that local families do operate the vast majority of our farms, there are fewer and fewer of those families every year. Thirty-eight percent of the farmland in Saskatchewan is operated and controlled by just 8 percent of Saskatchewan farms or just over 2,400 operations. These 2400+ farms average 9,382 acres in size, though many are much larger. The reduction in the number of small farms, the concentration of farmland and farm income into fewer and fewer large operations, and barriers to entry created by rising land prices (See Farm Credit Canada, Farmland Values Report), all make it more difficult for young and new farmers to enter agriculture, the report goes on to say. This difficulty in gaining access to farmland is therefore, effectively stifling the possibility of farming as a career choice for young Canadians (Qualman, Akram-Lodhi, Desmarais, and Srinivasan, 2018). Farms larger than 10,000 acres make up less than 2 percent of total Prairie farms, yet those very large operations captured approximately 15 percent of gross revenues and net income. On average, these very large farms earned net incomes of more than $820,000 before depreciation. At the other end of the size distribution, farms smaller than 1,000 acres, though they make up 53 percent of total farms, captured just 21 percent of revenues and 18 percent of net income. On average, these farms earned net incomes of just over $34,000 each. Because margins are tight and per-acre net income is low on cattle farms and grain and oilseed farms, a young or new farmer on a small farm with few acres paid for has a very limited ability to pay for additional acres, large farms often have greater capacity to borrow money (on better terms than those usually offered to smaller farms), and as a result unless a young farmer can partner with another, either a family member or another farmer looking to start ‘slowing down’, there is no avenue for him or her to get in and fewer and fewer farm children are returning to the farm. In 2014, for instance, 73 percent of farmland transactions involving an ownership change were between arms-length parties (neighbours), whereas 27 percent were among family members (Magnan and Sunley 2017). The rate of farmland concentration however, is running far ahead of the rate of farm loss. Since 1966, Canada has lost half of its farms, but the number of farmers who control the vast majority of land is far smaller than the numbers above suggest. According to the report, across the Prairie Provinces, farms larger than 5,000 acres, which represents 7 percent of all farms, own 27 percent of all farmland that is owner-operated, also those same 7 percent of Prairie farms that are larger than 5,000 acres, lease 67 percent of government leased farm land and rent or lease 35 percent of all land rented or leased by farmers from non-government farmland owners. So, while it may remain the case that our farmland is owned by local families, it is also the case that most is owned by a very small percentage of families. In 2016, 37,622 farm operations owned about half of all Canadian agricultural land in private hands. Translated into number of people, the authors of the study made a rough assumption that each farming operation included, in some combination of parents, children, spouse/partner, about 2.5 landowners. Thus those 37,622 farm operations become 94,055 people (less than .3% of the Canada’s entire population) own half of the country’s food-producing acreage. The great exit of young people from rural to urban areas is well documented in report after report in Statistics Canada library, but to bring this into a more local perspective, the 1976 census shows the population of the RM of Fish Creek to be 591, by 1981 that number had dropped to 510. (https://archive.org/details/1981939081982engfra/page/n47/mode/2up?q=Fish+Creek+RM) Twenty years later, the population was 382 and while that number is now recorded as 345, in the intervening years it did drop as low as 307 at one point. The report concludes that unless government policies or economic shocks alter these trends, 20 years from now, the area of land operated by small farms will be negligible, and farms larger than 5,000 acres may operate 50 to 60 percent of Prairie farmland (up from about 37 percent today).Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
DETROIT — The U.S. government's road safety agency is investigating complaints that suspensions can fail on nearly 115,000 Tesla electric vehicles.The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 43 complaints that linkages near the ball joints can fail, allowing contact between the tire and wheel liner.The probe, announced Friday on the agency's website, covers 2015 through 2017 Model S sedans and 2016 through 2017 Model X SUVs.The agency says 32 owners complained of failures at low speeds, but 11 said the links failed on roads while travelling above 10 mph including four at highway speeds. It says the number of complaints is increasing as the vehicles age, with 32 in the last two years. Three of the highway complaints came in the last three months.In addition, NHTSA says it has eight complaints that may involve suspension failures that haven’t been confirmed by photos or service records.The agency said it has no reports of crashes or injuries.The agency says it will investigate how often the problem happens and the safety consequences. The probe could lead to a recall.A message was left early Friday seeking comment from Tesla.NHTSA says that in 2017, Tesla issued a service bulletin describing the failure and saying that drivers could still control the vehicles “but the tire may contact the wheel arch liner.” The bulletin says vehicles with the problems were built from Jan. 19, 2016 to May 25, 2016.But NHTSA said the complaints include 41 vehicles built before or after the range cited in the bulletin. Twenty-nine were built after the range ended.The Associated Press
AngeliCat Jolie, HillaryClawton, Albert Meowstein, Cleocatra and Feline Dion. This is not a list of celebrities nominated for the next prestigious awards, but the names of cats that were rescued during a mission in Kanesatake. And some of them are still looking for their forever home. Last June, the non-profit organization The Aristopaws were called to Kanesatake after community member Josée Craig was made aware of a situation that was getting out of hand. More than 40 cats were rescued from a house after the owners had been deemed unfit to take care of them. Craig explained the owner, whose identity will remain confidential, was not able to take care of the cats anymore. Part of the reason there were so many was because they hadn’t been sterilized, which allowed them to reproduce at a fast pace. “It was a difficult mission,” said Craig, “because the first time that the cat’s owner contacted me, I didn’t have any room to take them.” Craig, who’s been living in the community for the past 24 years and works for the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake, has been rescuing stray cats in her spare time, out of love for the animals. She normally gets by with the help of community members and through donations, but she said that this year has been harder with COVID-19. “Everyone is struggling,” she said, as she explained that she couldn’t rescue all those cats alone this time around. She contacted The Aristopaws after seeing that they dealt with a similar case in Mont Tremblant, back in March. Craig admitted that while it feels rewarding to save the animals, it can also be quite difficult to participate in a rescue mission such as the one in Kanesatake. While the situation was inhumane for the cats, owning too many pets not only can affect the animals themselves, but it can also hurt the owner’s health. In fact, in a situation like the one that led to the rescue mission, the love for our four-pawed friends can increase poor air quality and transmission of infectious diseases from animals to humans. “Aristopaws took out 22 cats from under the kitchen sink, where they were hiding because they were afraid of us,” said Craig. The rescue organization was created in 2014 by Mélanie Dubuc after seeing too many animals being euthanized due to lack of money. The goal was to rescue abandoned, mistreated or stray animals in the region of Montreal. They are automatically sent to foster families while waiting to be adopted and placed in their forever home. The Aristopaws, who now count 16 volunteering staff on their team and more than 100 animals under their care, pays for everything related to their needs, such as medicine and food. “We are simply asking the families to take care of the animals like they were their own,” said Aristopaws director Geneviève Castillo-Huard. Castillo-Huard explained that it can take up to six months before an animal is ready to be adopted, which is the case with the rescued cats for their mission in Kanesatake. “A lot of them had never been socialized and were afraid of humans,” said the Aristopaws director. “It can be a long rehabilitation process.” firstname.lastname@example.orgVirginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
OTTAWA — Champion ice-dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and Olympic champion swimmer Mark Tewksbury were among 114 athletes, artists, scholars and community leaders named to the Order of Canada.Gov. Gen. Julie Payette's office announced the new honourees Friday morning.Others in the group include Indigenous writer Thomas King, winemaker John Peller, dancer and choreographer Elizabeth Langley, geriatrician Roger Wong, Cree elder Doreen Spence, sports academic Dr. Sandra Kirby, wheelchair basketball coach Tim Frick and ex-politicians Bill Graham and Allan Rock.Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018.They're being honoured for their athletic excellence and for inspiring a new generation of figure skaters."Feeling all wrapped up in emotion ... Upon learning about being invested into the Order of Canada, I couldn’t help but think that as a kid, I would have never known to dream so big," Virtue posted on Twitter."I am humbled by this honour."Tewksbury, who is being named to the top companion rank, won gold in the 100-metre backstroke at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.The 52-year-old Calgary native came out publicly as gay in 1998 and has been an advocate of LGBTQ rights as well as a prominent member of Canada's Olympic movement, serving as chef de mission of the 2012 London Olympic team.He is being honoured for athletic excellence and sport leadership, and for championing human rights.Kirby, a rower at the 1976 Montreal Olympics, is being honoured for her research on athlete harassment and her advocacy for equity, inclusion and safety in sport. Frick coached Canada's women's wheelchair basketball team to three straight Paralympic gold medals from 1992-2000 and four straight world championship gold medals from 1994-2006.He is being honoured for his expertise in coaching and for his contributions to the advancement of parasports in Canada.The Order of Canada is one of the country's highest civilian honours.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.The Canadian Press
LONDON, Ont. — An outbreak that prompted a London, Ont., hospital to stop new admissions at its medical wards has expanded to some of its surgical units.Middlesex-London Health Unit has ordered a pause to all visitations at University Hospital.Only visitors for dying patients are allowed.London Health Sciences Centre did not say whether the newly affected surgical units will remain open.The health network had said that new medical patients at University Hospital will be transferred to Victoria Hospital.As of Thursday, there were two deaths, 21 patients, 23 staff cases linked to the outbreak.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 25, 2020.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.The Canadian Press
There are no windows in Robyn O'Drowsky's classroom.Her walls would usually be plastered with posters and kids' art. Instead, she's staring at drab off-white brick, a few lockers and more coat hooks than she has coats.She's hunkered down in the girls' change room at St. Mary's Catholic School, in Elora, Ont., converted into her Grade 5 virtual classroom. She lives with her parents, who are older and more vulnerable to COVID-19, so she opted to teach online this year."It's strange because I am kind of just in here talking to a computer," she said. But she's made it work. "I have my en suite, which is my own private bathroom, and I'm set up in here pretty well."The province estimates as of mid-October, some 450,000 students were learning online. O'Drowsky, or Ms. O as students call her, is one of the teachers making it happen. It's been a steep learning curve, as teaching online is an entirely new concept for most teachers and many of Ontario's school boards.For the first few months, O'Drowsky was working and planning lessons pretty much whenever she was awake. She's now mentoring in-class teachers in case everyone has to pivot. "If that happens, my kids are already set. We are flying," she said. "I feel like these children are super resilient."The online model has given her a glimpse into student's lives that she wouldn't get in a regular classroom. She's met lots of pets and always knows when someone forgets to change out of their pyjamas. It's also helped with managing behaviours. She doesn't have to deal with humming, singing or fidgeting anymore."I find we're getting through lessons a lot faster."'Speaking into the void'The hardest part has been figuring out how to maintain a one-on-one connection. In a regular classroom, students would just come up to O'Drowsky's desk."It's a work in progress but as we go, I feel like the kids are getting more confident," she said.LISTEN Virtual teachers discuss how online school is going:That lack of connection has been challenging for Albert Fong, who teaches high school science and physics at The Woodlands School in Mississauga. He's got a hybrid classroom, with some students in-person and others online."This model we have is taking a lot of joy out of teaching because I'm often speaking into the void," he said. "They've muted their microphones and I don't know if they're listening."He's been trying to find joy in little things. Like when a student unmutes at the end of class to say bye.Fong has been teaching for 16 years. This year has been the most difficult. He's a hands-on teacher, teaching a hands-on subject. He's tried his best but it's hard to replicate when students aren't there in-person."I try to not think to June ... most teachers in my position are just thinking a couple days ahead."Parents now in the classroom tooTypically teachers wouldn't be sitting down, staring at a screen all day, so they've had to get used to that, too."It's exhausting," admits Alex Mitchell, virtually teaching a Grade 6/7 split for the Catholic school board in Pembroke, Ont. "I have a new found appreciation for desk workers."He's got a big office to himself, so he's brought a yoga mat and stretches during breaks, off camera of course.It's Mitchell's first year teaching in a public board so he's getting a far different experience than if he was starting in a physical classroom. He's finding parents are playing a bigger role than he thought."For the first time ever, parents are in the classroom," he said. "It's kind of new for me to have to manage adults as well as children."Mitchell's also learned snow days aren't a thing. While his in-person counterparts got a snow day a few days ago, he had to wake up early to dig himself out."That was the very first thing they told us at our very first staff meeting. There will be no snow days. Don't ask."He has been cherishing the "almighty" mute button though, something he hopes to bring when he returns to a physical classroom, post-pandemic."[It's] the ultimate classroom management tool."
* Ottawa has 55 more COVID-19 cases and one more death. * Active cases have increased since Thursday, up to 293. * The Hastings Prince Edward Public Health region will move to yellow on Monday.Today's Ottawa updateOttawa Public Health (OPH) is reporting 55 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, while 20 more people's cases have been declared resolved.OPH is reporting one additional death, bringing the city's number of people who have died of COVID-19 to 373.Numbers to watch20.8: Ottawa's rate of new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 residents over the last seven days has dropped.293: Known active cases in Ottawa, more than in Thursday's report.30: The number of active outbreaks in Ottawa. The number of long-term care home outbreaks is up to 10.1.3: Ottawa's test positivity percentage, down from the previous update. A percentage at or below 1.2 per cent could help move a region into the yellow.After trending down for days, researchers measuring levels of the coronavirus in Ottawa's wastewater reported a slight increase in the seven-day average in their last update.Across the regionHastings Prince Edward Public Health in the Belleville, Ont., area is moving from green to yellow on Ontario's five-colour pandemic scale as of Monday.No other local health units are moving.
ELORA/FERGUS – Shoppers in Elora and Fergus are still in the holiday spirit as they go downtown, in reasonable numbers, for evening shopping nights. Starlight Shopping Elora and Late Night Sip and Shop in Fergus are an opportunity for residents to get some holiday shopping in with extended hours at downtown stores. “It’s sort of an opportunity to encourage people to get a head start on christmas shopping,” said Maclean Hann, Elora BIA chair and owner of The Evelyn in Elora. “It encourages people to keep their Christmas dollars local.” In Elora, downtown streets have closed off to cars to allow for more distancing much like was done on weekends in the summer. Unlike previous years, where Starlight Shopping takes place over two evenings, this year is four evenings on the last two Thursdays and Fridays in November. Hann said the stores are still offering the same kind of experience as previous years but gives people less of a rush to get out. “Combined with the streets being closed, it really gives people I think a sense of comfort,” Hann said. “It’s not going to be as crowded as it normally would be. You have more time to look after it so there’s less of a panic, you don’t have to condense all of your shopping into one evening.” Hann said the stores in Elora still have seen a good amount of people coming through. In Fergus they’re taking the same approach by spreading their shopping evenings into four Thursday and Friday nights. Melinda Croft, owner of The One and Only, explained that keeping stores open later allows people who would normally be working during their weekday hours to spend locally. “The shops being open until 10 gives them something to be able to come out to and social distance and not be so rushed to get their shopping done but then also support local stores,” Croft said. Croft said it could also skew people away from purely online purchasing. “One of the biggest things is online is so convenient, so we’re trying to make it a little bit more convenient too,” Croft said, adding that a lot of the downtown Fergus stores have gone online as well for those who don’t feel comfortable shopping in-store. Normally, Sip and Shop is a bigger event with a tree lighting ceremony but some aspects of it couldn’t go forward this year. However, downtown Fergus is still decorated, Santa Claus can be spotted around and you can take a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown. Croft said she doesn’t think those shopping will be from out of town and doesn’t think locals should be concerned about visitors from out of town. “I don’t think on a Thursday and Friday night they’re really coming out from the cities,” Croft said. “We mostly get local traffic during the week versus a Saturday when we get visitors from out of town more.” In regards to visitors coming from lockdown regions, Hann said the best they can do is to follow and enforce public health guidelines as much as possible. “It is safe to say there likely is some worry that’s happening but there’s also the reality of there’s really not a whole lot we as small business owners can do there,” Hann said, noting that tourists are crucial to the local economy. “Everyone is cautious but ultimately everybody wants to sell things in their stores. If that takes people from other regions then I guess that’s just how it is.”Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
The regular monthly meeting of the Prairie Rivers Reconciliation Committee was held on Tuesday, November 17, 2020 from 9:00 – 11:00 am via Zoom and although Gilbert Kewistep was unable to attend due to another commitment but offered up a prayer and a smudge prior to the meeting. Tracey Grande Maison chaired the meeting and called for a roundtable introduction of all those present. While it’s always nice to see all the regular faces around our virtual table, it was especially nice to see three new faces and welcome Lisa Braun from Hepburn, Rev. Emily Summach from Langham, and Velma Assinewai from Aberdeen. After the introductions the meeting moved on to the report from the Social Media Committee. The sub-committee, comprised of five individuals from the ranks of the PRRC, set a goal for themselves to share on the PRRC Facebook page, at least one news item, event, or story per week but currently they have been averaging two per week. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
Deaths from illicit drugs in Prince George edged closer to record-setting proportions last month. The year-to-date total stood at 43 as of the end of October, according to a monthly update from the B.C. Coroners Service issued Wednesday and increase of five from the month before. The city appears on pace to surpass the record 51 deaths recorded in 2018. Four of the deaths last month involved drugs in which fentanyl was detected and raised that year-to-date total to 33. Forty-six such deaths were reported in 2018. Since the start of 2018, there have been 127 drug-related deaths in the city and the rate per 100,000 people stands at 44.8. Only Hope and Vancouver have higher rates. Across B.C., it was the fifth month this year for which more than 160 suspected illicit drug deaths were reported to the BCCS and more than double the number of people who died as a result of illicit drugs in October 2019. "We are continuing to see record-breaking numbers of people dying in B.C. due to an unsafe drug supply in our province, and it's taking a toll on families and communities in this dual health emergency," chief coroner Lisa Lapointe said in a statement. "Challenges during COVID-19, such as access to key harm-reduction services and the toxic drug supply, including the extreme concentration of illicit fentanyl, are resulting in continuing significant and tragic loss of life across the province. Our hearts go out to those grieving the loss of family members, friends and colleagues. "We encourage clinicians to support those at risk of overdose by prescribing safe supply and reducing the numbers of lives lost to toxic substances. We also continue to advocate for an accessible, evidence-based and accountable treatment and recovery system for anyone experiencing problematic substance use who is seeking this medical assistance."Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince George Citizen
Service along the entire Confederation Line of Ottawa's LRT system is cancelled Sunday as part of work to install heaters to try to prevent track switches from jamming in winter weather.Replacement buses will be running throughout Sunday's closure between Tunney's Pasture and Blair stations. Most stations along the Confederation Line will also be closed Sunday, OC Transpo said. This is the second Sunday in a row service has been interrupted to install the new heaters. Last winter, snow accumulation appeared to cause switches on the eastern leg of the Confederation Line to malfunction, one of the key causes of the delays that beset the transit system.The Trillium Line has switch heaters powered by propane and natural gas, whereas the newer Confederation Line's were originally electric. The new heaters being installed will be powered by natural gas.
The numbers of positive COVID-19 cases across the country are grim as the second wave of the pandemic has the country firmly in its grip. Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer released new modelling on Friday that suggests Canada could see 60,000 daily new COVID-19 cases by the end of the year if people increase their contacts with others, but that number could be limited to 20,000 a day if Canadians keep the same number of personal contacts they have now. The modelling shows that instead of flattening the curve, national daily case counts are “increasing significantly,” and rapid growth is occurring in several provinces because each new case in Canada is spreading the infection to more than one other person. On average 5000 new cases are being identified daily and still people across the country are refusing to acknowledge that this is a serious threat. In early October, Prime Minister Trudeau warned Canadians that Thanksgiving gatherings were out the window, but we still had a chance for Christmas. Two weeks after Thanksgiving case numbers started to rise, and then Hallowe’en happened, and a week later the number of cases here in Saskatchewan really started to escalate. But we are not alone. On Sunday November 22, Alberta led the entire country with 1,584 new cases, despite having a fraction of the population of Ontario and Quebec. Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer likened the spread to “a snowball rolling down a hill, growing bigger and faster, and it will continue unless we implement strong measures to stop [it].” A Canadian health policy and health services research consultant, recently relocated to Melbourne, Steven Lewis shared his thoughts on Saskatchewan’s COVID-19 situation with CBC and he pulled no punches. “When 95 per cent adherence isn't good enough, you cannot rely on moral suasion or appeals to civility” and “the Saskatchewan government's "half-assed" approach will simply prolong the pandemic's devastating effects on people's health and the economy.” He continued, “It is increasingly clear that you can't slow-walk the pandemic with a fine-tuned balancing act that keeps the economy humming while keeping daily case rates at a predictable and low level. So, you have to come down hard and fast and universally to flatten the curve quickly. Bottom line: Saskatchewan has been tested by the second wave and largely failed.” On Wednesday November 25 before the Premier announced the latest measures the province recorded 164 new cases of COVID-19 pushing the total number of active cases over 3000. One-hundred and eleven are in hospital and nineteen are being cared for in intensive care units. Coming into effect at 12:01 am Friday November 27, seating at restaurants will be limited to four people per table with two to three metres separating tables dependent upon whether or not barriers are in place between tables. Capacity at performance and gaming venues will be restricted to 30. Any type of social indoor gathering in public areas are limited to 30. All team/group sports, activities, games, competitions, recitals, practices, etc. are suspended, including amateur and recreational leagues for all age groups. Athletes and dancers 18 years of age and under may continue practicing, conditioning and skills training in groups of eight or fewer, abiding by the required mask use and at least three metres of physical distancing between participants at all times. Fitness activities and group fitness classes in groups of eight or fewer continues to be permitted, for all ages. Mask use and at least three metres of physical distancing between participants must be maintained. All places of worship must reduce capacity to 30 people, including wedding, funeral and baptismal services. All students, employees and visitors in schools and daycares except while consuming food or beverage must now wear masks. Children 0-2 years remain exempt. Children ages 3-12 should wear a mask if possible. As well all employees and visitors in all common areas in businesses and workplaces and all residents, employees and visitors in all common areas in provincial and municipal facilities. Masking is required in indoor public areas even if barriers are in place. Retail businesses must enhance the expectation of mask use and mitigation measures through signage and staff training. Large retail locations are required to limit customers to 50% as determined by half the specified fire-code capacity or four square metres of space per person whichever is less. Premier Moe adamantly denied the necessity to enact a complete shutdown. During the press conference he said because we have a better understanding of the virus than in the spring and “we” know what to do. He went on to state that it would be unfair to shut down businesses and put people out of work. The aim of the government is to find the right balance and minimize the impact on people’s livelihoods. Interestingly enough this is the same theory that has been expressed by Alberta’s Premier Jason Kenney even as new cases in that province have exceeded those of Ontario and Quebec. Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
Ontario Premier Doug Ford is lashing out at people protesting COVID-19 lockdown measures outside his house. During his daily briefing, Ford called the protesters "buffoons" and asked them to respect his family and neighbours.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued a recall notice for Farm Boy brand Deluxe Chocolate Brownie Mix because it contains milk that's not listed as an ingredient.People with a milk allergy should not consume the product, the agency says.The mix is sold in 500 gram packages with the Universal Product Code: 8 08912 00760 1.On the Farm Boy website, the Ottawa-based chain with more than 30 locations in Ontario says it will refund any purchases of the product.The product has also been removed from store shelves, Farm Boy says.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said Farm Boy alerted the agency to error and no one has reported allergic reactions to the brownie mix.
ÉMILIE PELLETIER Initiative de journalisme local — Le Droit La capitale fédérale compte 55 nouvelles infections à la COVID-19, vendredi. Jeudi, Santé publique Ottawa (SPO) rapportait pour la première fois depuis la mi-septembre qu’Ottawa était passée sous la barre des 300 cas actifs. Toutefois, ce nombre a presque été atteint à nouveau au cours de la dernière journée, puisque le dernier bilan des autorités sanitaires fait état de 293 cas actifs du coronavirus connus à Ottawa. Des Ottaviens qui sont atteints du virus, 21 sont actuellement à l’hôpital, dont trois qui sont à l’unité des soins intensifs. SPO rapporte un décès survenu dans la capitale, jeudi. Selon le bilan quotidien de SPO publié vendredi, 21 éclosions sont actuellement en cours dans des établissements de soins de la santé, sept dans les services de garde d’enfants et établissements éducatifs, et deux au sein de la communauté. COVID-19: un lourd bilan pour finir la semaine, en Ontario La santé publique a fait état d’un nombre record de 1 855 cas de COVID-19, vendredi. Le bilan total depuis le début de la pandémie grimpe donc à un peu plus de 111 000 infections en Ontario. La moyenne sur sept jours atteint donc un nouveau sommet de 1 489 cas quotidiens, soit 72 par semaine par tranche de 100 000 habitants. La province déplore également le décès de 20 Ontariens aux mains du coronavirus. En tout, 3 267 personnes atteintes de la COVID-19 ont perdu la vie en Ontario, dont 2 283 résidents de foyers de soins de longue durée et huit employés de ces établissements. Au cours de la dernière journée, la province a enregistré un autre record important: 58 000 tests complétés en une journée. Jeudi, le Groupe pour le concensus en matière de modélisation et de conseils scientifiques a fait le point sur les projections relatives à la COVID-19 en Ontario. Les experts ont constaté que les « indicateurs clés de la pandémie se stabilisent dans certaines régions, mais les répercussions de la pandémie varient encore beaucoup d'une région à l'autre ». Par ailleurs, ils ont aussi fait savoir que la mortalité des résidents des foyers de soins de longue durée continue d’augmenter, tout comme le taux d’occupation des unités de soins intensifs. Quel que soit le scénario, il y aura 200 patients aux soins intensifs en décembre, prévoient-ils. Jeudi, 541 personnes ayant contracté le virus étaient hospitalisées, dont 151 patients aux soins intensifs. Parmi ceux-ci, 101 étaient sous respirateur. Le Groupe d’experts a aussi noté qu’il est difficile de déterminer s’il existe actuellement un revirement dans la croissance des cas. Le taux de guérison en province était de 84,8 % selon le dernier bilan de la santé publique. Émilie Pelletier, journaliste, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Droit
After 46 years running his business, Brian Quinn of Quinn’s Meats in Yarker, Ont. is preparing to retire. He’s hoping to sell the commercial property to someone that will keep the abattoir and meat retail business intact, proving a challenge as fewer young people enter the industry. “The trade hasn’t passed down from generation to generation,” Quinn said. “Pretty much everybody here is in their 50s. There are no young kids stepping up.” Quinn describes his industry as “recession-proof, pandemic-proof and good, solid business.” “We don’t work nights, we don’t work Sundays. It’s a good, solid, full-time job and it pays really competitively,” he said. Still, during his career, Quinn said he has watched as abattoir after abattoir have closed all around him. “When I started there were six within 25 miles,” he said. His clients bring livestock from Perth, Smiths Falls and Frontenac County — anywhere within 100 mile radius, he said. If the person who buys his property does not maintain the abattoir, he said he doesn’t know what those farmers will do. Demand for his services is incredibly high, he explained. “In Eastern Ontario, east of Toronto, every abattoir is booked up a year in advance.” Quinn learned the trade from his uncle and grandfather when he was in high school. After completing a few years at St. Lawrence College in Kingston, he said the business came up for sale so he bought it. “The work is not that hard,” he explained. “It’s just when you mention ‘slaughter house’ or ‘abattoir,’ or ‘butcher,’ it just turns people off. It’s not a bad go. We have a modern facility, heated floors, all the modern equipment, so it’s not as labour intensive as it used to be. It’s repetitive work.” “If you’re working on the kill floor for example, there’s obviously going to be a smell there, and the stuff that goes on with the slaughter of an animal. It’s not a pleasant task by any means, no matter who you are. But it has to be done for the process,” he said. “I think that’s a major thing that people just can’t get their mind passed. That’s just my thinking.” He also cited increasing government regulation as a factor pushing existing business owners out of the industry. “A lot of the plants were older and weren’t up to standard, they weren’t willing to make the financial commitment to [update].” Quinn said that he has essentially rebuilt his entire facility over the years to keep it in compliance. The sale or distribution of uninspected meat is illegal in Ontario. Animals must be inspected and approved prior to slaughter, processed in a licensed facility and then stamped, labelled or tagged with an inspection license. “Most of the older plants that we’re talking about that have closed up, they were built before meat inspection was even compulsory. They were grandfathered in and regulations kept getting stricter and stricter. You either had to get up to standards, or get out,” he said. Quinn’s business, as well as the home on the adjacent property, are listed together for $1.3 million, including all equipment, license, existing inventory, a smokehouse and a stand alone generator. The processing area is suited to the custom cutting of beef, pork, lamb and goat. The retail area includes meat counters and coolers to sell beef and pork by the cut, as well as chicken and other products. According to the government of Canada, the beef industry reached retail sales of $5.4 billion USD in 2018, with beef representing 29.1 per cent of the overall retail Canadian meat sector. The sector is expected to grow by 2.4 per cent by 2023. “Meat substitutes,” or soy-based products such as burgers and grills, meatballs, sausage and other portions represented only $102.0 million USD in 2018. “Nevertheless, the sales of ‘meat substitute’ product categories are all growing faster than sales of most meat product categories… between 2014-2023,” says the federal sector overview of meat in Canada.Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
THUNDER BAY — A Thunder Bay man accused of an armed robbery of a pizza delivery driver in late August appeared in court this week to plead guilty to several, unrelated charges connected to fraud from earlier this year. Colton Herneshuhta, 21, pleaded guilty to a total of 13 charges relating to fraud, forgery, a break and enter and breaching probation orders on Thursday, Nov. 26 in a Thunder Bay Zoom courtroom. Court heard several instances where Herneshuhta used fake cheques to defraud several agencies in the city from January to April. On Jan. 6, Herneshuhta attended a loan agency business on Red River Road and presented a forged cheque for $1,139. A few days later, the business learned the cheque was fraudulent and alerted police who identified Herneshuhta as the person who cashed the cheque. He was also on probation at the time. On Jan. 9, Herneshuhta again used more fake cheques at two different businesses on Red River Road totalling $900. In a different case, another complainant gave Herneshuhta her debit card and pin number after he lied about why he needed it, according to Herneshuhta lawyer's George Joseph. “Mr. Herneshuhta made attempts to withdraw money that were outside the perimeters of the representation he made to (the complainant),” Joseph said. He initially attempted to withdraw $1,499, but was only able to take out $500, court heard. In April, Herneshuhta used a fake cheque of $850 to defraud the Children’s Aid Society. A few months later in August, Herneshuhta was identified as a suspect of a break and enter at a business on Victoria Street on Aug. 2. The Crown stated there was no estimate provided by the business of the damage caused or items stolen. Joseph told the court his client has struggled with a cocaine addiction for 10 years which has fuelled his criminal behaviour. Since being in custody, Herneshuhta has remained sober and has been working on his education as well as taking advantage of programs while in custody, Joseph said. Herneshuhta was sentenced to a joint submission of six months in custody, less pre-sentence custody. Crown counsel Piera Pasloski said Herneshuhta’s criminal record is limited and acknowledged his addiction which has been driving his criminal behaviour. “Mr. Joseph shared with me at the counsel pre-trial that Mr. Herneshuhta has had an extremely hard-wired addiction problem since age 11,” she said. “The hope is he will get himself the treatment he needs once he is released and that this behaviour will cease.” Herneshuhta was given credit at an enhanced rate for the time he has spent in pre-sentence custody of 136 days. He has 44 days left to serve going forward. After his custodial sentence, he will be placed on probation. Part of his probation conditions include participating in any assessments for counselling and substance addictions as well as completing any treatment programs if he is directed by probation. He is also not to contact any of the complainants or enter the businesses he defrauded. He will have 12 months to pay a victim surcharge fine for each of the 13 counts. Herneshuhta was not ordered to pay a restitution order. Herneshuhta also has outstanding charged connected to an alleged armed robbery from Aug. 24 of a pizza delivery driver. He is scheduled to return to court for these matters in early December.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Rowley Ramy knows the support offered by Seasons Centre for Grieving Children in Barrie is making a difference in the lives of those who use its resources. “I know it works when I see someone having a fuller life trying to give back,” the centre's managing director said. “It comes full circle.” Since opening 25 years ago, the centre, which provides peer support to children between the ages of five and 24 who are grieving the death of immediate family members, has helped a lot of people. For Ramy, it’s been a deeply personal journey. On Jan. 18, 1995, his daughters Samantha and Jessica were killed in a car accident. Ramy described an outpouring of support and a realization. While there was support for grieving adults, the same could not be said for children. And so, Seasons Centre for Grieving Children was created, and dedicated to his daughters. “Unfortunately, what happens with loss is none of us think about it until it happens, and then we look for the resources,” Ramy said, adding he still feels there could be more resources available. “There should a Seasons Centre in every regional health centre in the country.” As part of the 25th anniversary, the centre unveiled a new stained-glass sign, designed by Norma Vowels, who spent 15 years working as an office manager at the centre. “I’ve seen firsthand the difference they make in children’s lives,” she said, explaining how she would meet children and their families when they would first come to the centre. Speakers at the event talked about the isolating effects of grief, and the difficulty children can have navigating those powerful emotions. “We gave them the tools so that they don’t act out,” she said. “It makes a huge difference in their careers at school and their lives out in the real world.” Seasons Centre for Grieving Children is located at 38 McDonald St. For more information, or to support the centre, visit grievingchildren.com.Shane MacDonald, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
The fishing season in one of Nova Scotia's most lucrative lobster-harvesting areas is set to go ahead next week after authorities failed to spot any endangered right whales.Earlier this week, Fisheries Department officials suspended the lobster season — which was supposed to begin Monday — after right whales were detected off the southwest coast of Nova Scotia.But department spokesperson Robin Jahn said in an email Thursday that a recent surveillance operation over the Roseway Basin failed to spot any whales, and therefore, she said, officials will greenlight the start to the lobster season.The closure affected LFA 33 and 34, some of the largest lobster-fishing areas in Nova Scotia.Fisheries officials warned, however, that if right whales are spotted in the area once again, the department will suspend the fishing season.The endangered North Atlantic right whales have changed their migratory path and are increasingly getting entangled in fishing gear and hit by vessels as they move north in search for food.MORE TOP STORIES